The Toronto Raptors acquired three-time All-Star Marc Gasol from the Memphis Grizzlies prior to this afternoon’s NBA trade deadline.
Most notably, the 34-year-old big man will be a strong defensive presence for the Raptors. Toronto already has an impressive defensive rating (107.3) that ranks eighth-best among all NBA teams. But adding Gasol to the mix will be a huge addition for the Raptors, who now have multiple winners of the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year award.
Gasol took home the award after the 2013 season. Leonard, one of the best defensive players in the league, won it in both 2015 and 2016.
These two players are not the only Raptors who have received recognition as a former Defensive Player of the Year frontrunner. Serge Ibaka finished No. 4 overall in voting in 2014, No. 3 overall in 2013 and No. 2 overall in 2012.
It is unclear how Toronto will manage minutes in the frontcourt with Gasol, Ibaka and breakout star Pascal Siakam. Gasol currently ranks No. 8 overall among centers in ESPN’s Real Plus-Minus.
Even though Gasol is not the same defensive player he once was, this is a fascinating gamble for the Raptors, who are clearly all-in on winning the Eastern Conference.